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Framework decision

A framework decision is an instrument that is used to approximate (align) the laws and regulations of the Member States. Proposals are made on the initiative of the Commission or a Member State and they have to be adopted unanimously. They are binding on the Member States as to the result to be achieved but leave the choice of form and methods to the national authorities.

Free movement of persons (visas, asylum, immigration and other policies)

The Treaty of Amsterdam has written a new title (chapter) into the Treaty establishing the European Community. That new title covers the following fields:
· free movement of persons (in particular, abolition of controls at internal borders);
· controls at external borders;
· asylum and immigration;
· judicial cooperation in civil matters.
These fields used to come under the Treaty on European Union and were therefore "third-pillar" matters. The Treaty of Amsterdam "communitised" them, so that the Council now acts on a proposal from the Commission, the eventual aim being to apply the codecision procedure (i.e. sharing decisions with the European Parliament) and qualified majority voting (except in the case of opt-outs) for all matters or some of them. Moreover, the Court of Justice now has jurisdiction in the fields covered by the new title.
The United Kingdom and Ireland have opted out of measures taken in this framework. Denmark participates only in measures relating to visas by way of obligations under international law and accepts in principle the measures concerning the Schengen acquis.

See:

Communitisation
Community method and intergovernmental method
Council of the European Union (Council)
Court of Justice
Justice and home affairs
Opting out
Pillars of the European Union